Former Vice President Al Gore spoke with Long Island Association’s president Kevin Law at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury during the organization’s biannual luncheon Friday morning.
The conversation highlighted a range of topics from corporate interest to the state of American politics, to Hurricane Sandy and the effects of climate change on Long Island.
The nation’s 45th vice president didn’t shy away from calling out influential lobbying groups like the National Rifle Association either, while also promoting his new book, The Future.
On corporate interests:
“The congressman running for re-election has to beg special interests for money to buy ads against their competition. Lots and lots of members in the House and Senate are influenced by this. The next time they vote, are they thinking how the founders wanted them to, or are they thinking if I vote with this interest I am going to get money from them? That’s the reason there is no reform that can pass the Congress with the exception of the healthcare bill.”
On the National Rifle Association:
“The NRA—I used to be a member! It’s a complete fraud. It’s financed by the gun manufacturers… The NRA is a puppet. You have one puppet controlling another puppet.”
On Hurricane Sandy and climate change:
“Look at what we’ve been through—what you’ve been through…110 billion dollars in climate damage—95,000 homes in Nassau country destroyed… The ocean temperatures were five degrees higher when super-storm Sandy hit.”
Gore later added, “And not one single journalist asked one single question at any debate about climate change. That’s pathetic.”
On innovation, and America’s future:
“The United States of America remains the only country that can provide leadership to the rest of the world. I challenge people to tell me who can. The European Union? Not with the shape that it’s in now. China? People don’t know if it will truly live up to its commitments.”
On Current TV and it’s merging with Al Jazeera:
“They are owned in significant part by the nation of Qatar, but they have staked out a role in remaining objective. It will surely shake up the way we do media here. Al Jazeera America will have twenty-four-seven real news. It will raise the game for those who don’t want to compete with it. Don’t take my word for it. Watch and see for yourself when it launches in the upcoming weeks.”
The former vice president jokingly dodged questions about a 2016 run for the White House, stating, “I’m a recovering politician on about step 9—without a relapse [into politics] in the past few years, I don’t think I’ll succumb to the temptation again.”
Once criticized for his impassive approach to governing during the Clinton White House and 2000 presidential campaign, Gore took a page out of his former boss’ book with a warm, passionate, funny and sharp presentation of his ideas.
Gore is a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient, as well as author of several bestselling books, the subject of his Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.
The LIA has welcomed both President George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and former Vice President Dick Cheney as speakers at previous biannual luncheons.